As one of the only men to have ever won the World Superbike Championship for not one, but two different manufacturers, James Toseland would be forgiven for feeling slightly bitter about the premature end of his racing career due to a wrist injury in 2011. Indeed, most of us would probably have descended into the sort of black mood which it can take a good decade to struggle out of.

However, Toseland decided instead to turn to music, firstly with the band “Crash” and now with his own eponymous five piece “Toseland”… He certainly seems to bring the same level of achievement to music as he did to motorbike racing, as Toseland’s first single “Life Is Beautiful” was playlisted by Planet Rock radio and was of such high quality that the band secured an acoustic slot at the mighty Download festival soon after it was released. A year later and Toseland have released their first full length album, Renegade. But, does it live up to the quality promised by that first single?

In a word, yes. One listen to this album and it’s easy to tell why Toseland have been picked up as supports to Status Quo and Michael Monroe. They make the sort of timeless, ballsy hard rock that those greats made famous, and they do so in a way that brings the whole genre bang up to date. James Toseland has a great voice for a rock frontman, striking the right balance between being gritty and gravelly, and still being able to hit the high notes in his songs. If you’re demanding a name for comparison, think Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy. The first track of the album is the single that got playlisted by Planet Rock, and it’s easy to see why. “Life Is Beautiful” is an absolute cracker of a tune, just waiting to be turned into a fist pumping sing along when cranked out at top volume to live to an appreciative crowd.


The onslaught of killer rock bangers continues unabated throughout the album, with newest single “Crash Landing” and chugging guitar driven revenge anthem “Good Eye Blind” in particular standing out as wickedly catchy tunes. Even the token power ballad “Just No Way” manages to fall on the right side of the heartfelt/boring divide. By the time Renegade draws to a close with the fantastic title track (which features a fantastic guitar solo, for those that like that sort of thing), it would take a heart of stone not to be a convert to Toseland’s muscular no-nonsense brand of rock.

The album’s not perfect, as none of the lyrical content on show here is threatening to reinvent the poetic wheel, but with songs this good, it almost doesn’t matter. Toseland aren’t trying to make deep thoughtful music that requires pontification by music scholars, they’re trying to make joyful music that you can just turn up and bang your head to. And with “Renegade” they’ve succeeded with flying colours.


Buy the album from Amazon
and iTunes.

Words By Elinor Day.